posted April 08, 2011 07:34 PM
The venomous Egyptian cobra that slithered her way to worldwide fame by escaping her enclosure at New York's Bronx Zoo for a week has been given a name -- Mia as in "missing in action."
The winning name announced on Thursday by zoo officials was selected from 33,000 nominations in an online contest launched by the zoo and the New York Daily News.
There were five finalists -- Agnes, Amaunet, Cleopatra, Subira and Mia. Of 60,000 votes cast, Mia came out ahead with more than a quarter of the vote.
No matter what her given name, the adolescent female snake may always be known to many as @BronxZoosCobra, a fake Twitter account about the snake's imagined escapades which now has nearly 240,000 followers.
During her disappearance last month, the tweets focused on her alleged jaunts to New York's tourist attractions.
Since her recapture in the Reptile House just a short distance from her cage, the tweets have focused on her life behind bars and hatching plans for her next escape.
Zoo officials said the 20-inch snake now known as Mia is doing well as she settles back into her enclosure, and will go on public display when the Reptile House reopens on Saturday, according to a statement.
The naming contest, or renaming contest according to @BronxZoosCobra, appeared to irk whoever is posting the tweets, prompting one calling for nominations to rename the Bronx Zoo. Suggestions in response included Ssssing Ssssing, the New York Snake Penitentiary and Hotel California, because you can check out but never leave.
The user behind the humorous account posted this on Twitter just moments after the winner was announced: "So, the vote is in. They want to name me Mia. But in my heart I'll always know that my true name is Mrs. Justin Bieber."
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Ellen Wulfhorst